Firebird rolls out rent-to-own program in Rogers Park

Columbia Parc

We’ve heard it time and time again from our Realtor friends: Don’t throw your money away by renting.

But in today’s market, with prices in some neighborhoods trending down, buyers want to be sure they’re getting the best possible deal.

With that in mind, Firebird Development Corp rolled out a rent-to-own program this week for a pair of rehabbed courtyard properties in Rogers Park: Columbia Parc and Columbia Gardens, two affordable projects geared toward first-time buyers. We spoke with Trevor Engelhardt, a broker with Baird & Warner, about the brand-new initiative.

“We’re trying to address other market concerns, and a lot of concerns people have right now [is] the possibility that prices are going to continue to go down,” he said.

Under the program, renters can choose to pay a slightly inflated monthly rent at the two developments. But at the end of a year, if the renter chooses to buy the condo, 100 percent of the past year’s rent is cashed back to the buyer.

As an example, Engelhardt pointed to renter paying $1,200 a month for one of Columbia Parc’s units. Using the rent-to-own program, the renter could expect a check for $14,400 back at the end of a year.

Let us know: How valuable is the opportunity to “test drive” a new condo before buying it? Would you consider paying slightly more in rent for the chance at buying the unit after a year?

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